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Longtime Carlisle athletic director Dave Eavenson, center, died April 19.


Mechanicsburg
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Mechanicsburg Schools
Mechanicsburg school board approves contracts for Elmwood project

At a special meeting on Tuesday night, the Mechanicsburg Area School Board unanimously approved contracts for the Elmwood Elementary site work project.

Planned site work at Elmwood includes relocating the parent drop-off area to the rear of the building and making the front area a drop-off area for buses only. A new drive loop for parents dropping off students will run one-way from a Shepherdstown Road entrance behind the school to a rear building exit. The new drop-off loops are slated for completion by the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The school board awarded contracts totaling $3,089,504 as follows:

General construction — eci construction LLC, $2,807,500.

Plumbing construction — Mann Plumbing and Heating, $14,000.

Electrical construction — Mid State Mechanical and Electrical, $268,004.

A second phase of Elmwood’s site work plans will involve a new playfield and new hard and soft play areas on grounds behind the school, according to public bid advertisements.

In January, school directors approved contracts totaling $1,019,780 to begin the second floor renovation of the Elmwood project, which involves converting the upper floor into 15 classrooms. Until then, the district’s offices were located on Elmwood’s second floor.

The offices have since been moved to a rented location and will be relocated later to a new second floor at the Kindergarten Academy.

Last year, the school board authorized architects to prepare advertisements for contractor bids for converting Elmwood Elementary School, now home to grades 1-5, into a district center for grades four and five. The changes relate to a reconfiguration of all district elementary grades scheduled for next year.

Also on Tuesday, architect J. Brian Haines of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates told the school board that a proposed building renovation and expansion project at Shepherdstown Elementary School so far is estimated to cost around $16,391,000. “We’re still looking to try to reduce that,” he said.

Meanwhile, a planned project of “mostly renovations” at Upper Allen Elementary School is estimated to cost around $11,503,000.

School board members are expected to set a date for an Act 34 public hearing for the projects on May 8. The public hearing is tentatively proposed to take place on June 12.


Lax vetting on Trump nominees begins to frustrate senators

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to clean up the mess.

That sentiment was evident Tuesday on Capitol Hill after senators delayed hearings for White House physician Ronny Jackson, Trump’s surprise pick to head the VA. Jackson is facing questions about improper workplace behavior, and even Trump himself acknowledged that there were concerns about his nominee’s experience.

“The White House still seems to be feeling its way on the nomination process,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, “and does not fully appreciate how important it is to do a thorough vetting and FBI background check on nominees.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said that while lawmakers want to be “deferential as much as we can” to the president’s preferences for his Cabinet, “it would be nice to know some of the issues that come up after the fact before the fact.”

Trump, who promised to fill his administration with the “best people,” often gravitates toward advisers he has a personal connection with or who look the part, drawing on the approach he took as a business executive. But as president, the result is a growing list of Cabinet secretaries and other officials who do not appear to undergo the rigorous scrutiny typically expected for White House hires.

Andy Puzder, Trump’s initial choice to lead the Labor Department, stepped aside before his confirmation hearings, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price won confirmation, but ultimately resigned amid disclosures about his expensive travel habits.

Others are fighting similar charges, most notably Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt faces multiple allegations of improper housing, expensing and other practices, prompting several lawmakers to call for him to step down.

The Senate has increasingly become a partisan battleground for nomination fights, a war that escalated when President Barack Obama was in the White House and Senate Democrats, who had majority control, changed the rules to allow majority vote for confirming most nominees — the so-called nuclear option — to get around GOP filibusters.

Republicans returned the favor once Trump was in the White House, and they had the Senate majority, deploying the tactic to seat Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.

Some GOP senators argue that Democrats are slow-walking even those Trump nominees with a solid track record, including Mike Pompeo, who got votes from 14 Democrats and one aligned independent last year during his confirmation for CIA director. Pompeo is now in line to run the State Department, but has faced stiff opposition from some of the same Democrats who backed him a year ago.

The Democratic opponents are going to “embarrass themselves,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Thune called it “really a new low.”

But questions about the White House’s vetting standards have no doubt given Democrats fresh ammunition to challenge Trump’s Cabinet picks.

“Our Republican colleagues bemoan the pace of the nominations,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. But he said because of the administration’s “quick, sloppy vetting process,” the Senate job of vetting nominees “is more important than ever before.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said senators don’t have to agree with a nominee’s position on issues, but the Senate has a historic role — to advise and consent — that the president’s picks are up to the job.

“We’re not going to allow nominees to be jammed through without proper scrutiny and debate,” Murray said. “Now hopefully, the events of the last 24 hours have made it very clear why this is so important.”

Asked about the adequacy of vetting process Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that such questions are better raised with the White House.

“Look,” McConnell said, “it’s up to the administration to do the vetting.”


Ask_answer
Aski/Answered
Ask/answered: Top grossing non-profits in Carlisle

Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:

What nonprofits in Carlisle receive the most money?

There are more than 300 nonprofit organizations within the Borough of Carlisle, according to the nonprofit tracking website Guidestar.

More than half of those organizations reported no earnings during their latest fiscal year, according to Guidestar.

However nearly 130 organizations did, ranging from Dickinson College with gross receipts of more than $180 million during the 2015-16 fiscal year to $2 in interest earned by the Courtney Boynton Pediatric Cancer Foundation in 2016, according to Guidestar.

The top five grossing nonprofits in Carlisle according to Guidestar are:

Dickinson College

Gross receipts: $183,344,128

Latest financial disclosure: 2015-16

Mission Statement: “To prepare young people, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society.”

Website: Dickinson.edu

Child Care Network

Gross receipts: $27,110,478

Latest financial disclosure: 2016-17

Mission Statement: “Child Care Network states it is a nonprofit corporation committed to the advancement and cultivation of excellent care and development of all children in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their surrounding communities.”

Website: childcarenetwork.com

Partnership for Better Health

Gross receipts: $21,396,276

Latest financial disclosure: 2016-17

Mission Statement: “The Partnership for Better Health champions and invests in ideas, initiatives and collaborations that improve the health of the people and communities in our region.”

Website: forbetterhealthpa.org

Our Family Foundation

Gross receipts: $18,238,737

Latest financial disclosure: 2016

The mission statement of Our Family Foundation is “to build healthy communities.” At least part of the organization’s function is to provide grants to other organizations including multiple children’s hospitals with the purpose of “research, purchase of equipment, building expansion or support of families in need of care.”

The Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties

Gross receipts: $16,419,748

Latest financial disclosure: 2015-16

Mission statement: “The mission of the Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties is to provide support, training and opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The Arc empowers people to achieve their highest level of independence and become contributing, responsible and proud members of society. The Arc works to educate the public and to inspire public policy and promotes the realization of a fulfilled life for all people.”

Website: cparc.org

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Clark, Lawrence Strausser, Donna


Mechanicsburg
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Upper Allen Township
Pizzeria in Upper Allen seeking liquor license to sell beer

JoJo’s Pizza is seeking a liquor license through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to sell beer at its newly opened location at the Upper Allen Commons shopping center.

The eatery has an application pending for an Economic Development Eating Place (malt) license. The application was filed on March 29, said Shawn Kelly, a spokesman for the state agency.

If approved, JoJo’s could be the first restaurant in Upper Allen Township to receive a liquor license since local voters approved a referendum in 2015 allowing alcohol sales in the township. Upper Allen had been dry for more than 100 years.

Each county in Pennsylvania has a limited number of retail liquor licenses based on population, Kelly said. Cumberland, like most every county, is above its quota.

Because of this quota system, JoJo’s must first try to purchase a license from another license holder elsewhere in the county and then transfer the license to Upper Allen.

However, state regulations allow establishments to apply for an economic development license if all reasonable means to transfer or obtain an existing license have been exhausted, Kelly said. He said the applicant must first seek approval from the municipal governing board after a public hearing.

The Upper Allen Township board of commissioners on March 7 approved the request of Antonino Purpura, the owner of JoJo’s Pizza, to apply for an economic development license, township manager Lou Fazekas said.

If approved, the license would allow JoJo’s Pizza to sell beer-to-go up to a limit of two six-packs at a time, Kelly said. To be eligible for the license, 70 percent of gross annual sales must be in the form of food and non-alcoholic beverages, he said.

Upper Allen Commons is a 5,640-square-foot shopping plaza in the 2200 block of Aspen Drive, of which roughly 2,400 square feet is occupied by JoJo’s. Up to three additional businesses could also go into the site. The plaza is owned by Purpura.

The original JoJo’s is at 107 W. Main St., in Mechanicsburg, and serves specialty pizza, pasta, subs and more.